The 547-acre Tourne County Park is the only remaining undeveloped fragment of the Great Boonton Tract, purchased by David Ogden, Colonial Attorney-General of New Jersey, in 1739. The highlight of the park is the 897-foot-high Tourne, which is reached by the DeCamp Trail, a wide gravel road built over a century ago by Clarence Addington DeCamp, who owned much of the land now preserved as a park...
The 547-acre Tourne County Park is the only remaining undeveloped fragment of the Great Boonton Tract, purchased by David Ogden, Colonial Attorney-General of New Jersey, in 1739. The highlight of the park is the 897-foot-high Tourne, which is reached by the DeCamp Trail, a wide gravel road built over a century ago by Clarence Addington DeCamp, who owned much of the land now preserved as a park. Although the hike gains 300 feet in elevation in 0.6 mile, the grades are moderate (about 10% on average), and there are no steep climbs. It's a great destination for a short hike with the entire family.
You can pick up a trail map from the kiosk at the end of the parking area. Continue downhill along the paved McCaffrey Lane for about 500 feet. Just beyond a bridge over a stream, you'll notice a four-space parking area on the right side of the road. (You could actually drive to this point, but the very small parking area is often full). Turn right onto the Red Trail (marked by a triple-red blaze on a tree). You may wish to obtain a green self-guided trail booklet from a kiosk to the left.
The trail immediately passes through a gate in a chain-link fence (erected to protect the wildflowers from deer) and enters the Wildflower Trail area, maintained by volunteers from the Rockaway Valley Garden Club. Just beyond the gate, leave the Red Trail and turn right onto the Brookside Trail, which crosses Tourne Brook on a wooden bridge, parallels it for a short distance, then recrosses it on another bridge. Numbers on posts along the trail refer to descriptions in the self-guided trail booklet, and small signs identify many of the wildflowers and other plants and trees.
At a Y-intersection with the Fern Walk, bear right onto the Swamp Trail. Soon, you'll pass Denture Rock (marked as #7) - a rock with "teeth" formed of large quartz crystals - to the left. At the next intersection, turn right onto the Trillium Trail, bear right again at the junction with the Hepatica Loop, and climb to a junction with the Overlook Trail - a wide gravel road which is also the route of the Red Trail.
Turn right onto the gravel road, soon exiting the Wildflower Trail area via a gate in the fence. Just beyond, you'll reach a four-way junction. The road to the right will be your return route but, for now, continue ahead, still following the red blazes along the gravel road, which begins a moderate climb. Soon, a path leads downhill to the left, but you should continue ahead on the gravel road, passing interesting boulders on the hillside to the right.
At the next intersection, the Red Trail continues ahead, but you should bear right, following a sign to "Top of the Tourne." You're now on the unmarked DeCamp Trail, which continues to climb on a moderate grade, with many rock outcrops to the right.
Near the top of the climb, there is a view to the west over the Rockaway Valley, with Green Pond Mountain beyond. A bench has been placed here so you can rest from the climb and enjoy the view. The trail continues ahead and soon levels off.
A grassy clearing with picnic tables to the right (with a huge, nearly flat rock outcrop beyond) marks the high point of the Tourne. Continue ahead on the gravel road, which descends slightly to reach a panoramic viewpoint to the east, with the New York City skyline visible in the distance on a clear day. To the left, you'll notice a memorial to the tragic 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which was visible from this point.
After taking in the view, continue ahead on the wide gravel road, which now begins a steady descent. Follow the road downhill for about half a mile to a four-way junction at the base of the descent, where you should turn left onto the Red Trail (following the sign for the Wildflower Trail). You are now briefly retracing your steps. Go through the gate in the fence and enter the Wildflower Trail area, but when you reach junctions with the Trillium Trail and Hepatica Loop, which begin to the left, continue ahead on the wide Overlook Trail. After exiting the Wildflower Trail area, you'll come to the four-space parking area with the kiosk. If you've parked in the main parking area on the top of the hill, turn left and follow the paved road back to your car.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 06/08/2007
This hike climbs to the top of the Tourne, with panoramic views.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.